Another Jewel in their crown: The Rolling Stones release their best album

Aptly, Hackney Diamonds – London slang for broken glass left after a smash-and-grab robbery – is stuffed with gems.

The best is Sweet Sounds Of Heaven, an uplifting gospel epic that builds to a huge climax with stellar guests in co-vocalist Lady Gaga, and Stevie Wonder on piano. “Play me something, Stevie,” implores Mick.

It’s a soulful secular anthem with punching horns, a reprise added spontaneously in the studio, and a
humanitarian message.

The Jagger swagger is in full swing on punchy opener Angry. Keith Richards’ stop-start staccato riff sets the pace as Mick moans about not getting enough sex, proving he still has a gift for fiction.

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Elsewhere, guests include Elton John and Paul McCartney, who adds fuzzy bass to ferocious rocker Bite My Head Off, probably the closest the Stones will ever get to punk.

Thanks to Andrew Watt’s crisp modern production and Jagger’s lyrics, the old-timers sound thoroughly up to date. The 12 tracks range from the classy country soul of Dreamy Skies, about escaping social media, to disco groover Mess It Up which tackles doxing.

Driving Me Too Hard owes a debt to Tumbling Dice. Live By The Sword – featuring the late Charlie Watts on drums and ex-bassist Bill Wyman – feels closest to 60s R&B, while garage rocker Whole Wide World takes a lyrical trip to the band’s skint, flat-sharing early days in Chelsea.

It’s no Exile On Main Street – what is? But Hackney Diamonds has everything from Ronnie Wood’s rippling licks to Mick and Keef alone on Muddy Waters’ Rolling Stone Blues – the song which inspired their name.

“Is the future all in the past?” asks Tell Me Straight. On this evidence, absolutely not.

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